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With security at heightened levels across Europe in the aftermath of the Paris killings, the HDI Arena in Hannover is currently being evacuated of spectators. 

The German national team – also caught up in the Stade du France explosions on Friday – were due to play The Netherlands in an international friendly game there.

A suspicious object was found before the game, and authorities in Germany, acting on intelligence information, have further reason to believe that the Hannover stadium might be the latest Isis terrorist target.

An official police announcement made in the stadium told football fans to "move away from the stadium. Do not stand still."

Kick-off was due to take place at 8.30pm local time [7.30pm Irish time]. 

Germany's decision to go ahead with their fixture against Holland was seen as an act of sporting defiance in the face of the atrocities in France.

Meanwhile, also tonight, France visit England at Wembley.

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It is the shocking image that began to emerge yesterday afternoon on social media: a small boy in blue trousers, a red t-shirt, and pair of smart black Velcro runners.

He was seen lying face down in the sand on a beach in Bodrum, a coastal area of Turkey popular with Irish tourists.

The three-year-old toddler, later named as Aylan Kurdi, had drowned – along with a dozen others.

Fleeing the violence of their home in Syria, Aylan and his family were attempting to reach Greece across the Aegean Sea at the time of his death.

The small boat on which they were travelling would have been loaded with migrants before setting off at 2am yesterday from the coast of Turkey.

Aylan, of course, never made it. Nor did his five-year-old elder brother, Galip, or their mother, Rehan. Two people remain unaccounted for; the youngest victim is a nine-month-old baby.

The short journey amounts to just 20km, but none of the passengers were wearing life-jackets, and once tossed into the sea, the children in particular stood little chance of survival. 

The only remaining member of the family, the children’s father, Abdullah, had to make a series of unspeakably grim phone-calls to relatives yesterday.

He reportedly could only say: “My wife and two boys are dead,” before breaking down in grief.

Despite the presumed hardship of their young lives – the family lived in the ISIS-besieged Syrian city of Kobane – evidently the Kurdi boys enjoyed moments of happiness too: heartbreaking photographs of the pair emerged this morning.

One shows them smiling warmly while posing for the camera; Galip with his arm around Alyan.

A second snap shows the boys laughing with a large teddy bear between them.

Today, newspapers throughout Europe are dominated by the image of Alyan’s body – many front pages show him being carried gently from the shoreline by a member of the Turkish police force.

Indeed, the photograph is being compared to other historically significant and pivotal images from the 20th century: the stark picture of a burning Phan Thi Kim Phúc taken during the Vietnamese War, as well as the photo used on the cover of TIME magazine showing Muslim prisoners peering through barbed wire during the Srebrenica Genocide.

Social media has been particularly vocal too, with hundreds of thousands of tweets being posted calling for European nations – including Ireland – to do more to alleviate the crisis.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland today, Minister Brendan Howlin admitted that as a nation we now must “step up to the plate,” to help those refugees fleeing from Syria.

“It’s a world issue,” he said. “And we need to have a world response with a real sense of solidarity.”

Calling it “one of the most challenging issues for human-kind right now,” he concluded: “Seeing the bodies of young children on the shores of Europe is so shocking – and we can’t let that lie.”

Ireland has so far committed to taking 600 refugees between now and 2017.

This year, Germany, which has been at the forefront of campaigning on behalf of displaced peoples from the Middle East, will take 800,000.

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They pair would have surely assumed that their conversation was innocuous enough.

Certainly, few would have predicted the international response to President Obama conversing in the outdoors with a seated Chancellor Merkel at the recent G7 summit.

However, on reflection, and with her arms wide open, Angela does indeed look like she's impersonating Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music… or, indeed, is challenging Barack  to "come at me, bro".

The photo was taken at the Elmau castle in Kruen, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in southern Germany – where the leaders of seven nations are discussing the likes of climate change, the global economy, and international security.

And while the resulting memes admittedly have little bearing on international matters of great importance, they are nevertheless rather hilarious.

Here are just a few of our favourites…

 

 

 

 

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